Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 75, Issue 22, pp 4107–4124 | Cite as

Anti-type 2 transglutaminase antibodies as modulators of type 2 transglutaminase functions: a possible pathological role in celiac disease

  • Stefania Martucciello
  • Gaetana Paolella
  • Carla Esposito
  • Marilena Lepretti
  • Ivana CaputoEmail author


Auto-antibodies to the ubiquitous enzyme type-2 transglutaminase (TG2) are a specific hallmark of celiac disease (CD), a widely diffused, multi-factorial disease, affecting genetically predisposed subjects. In CD an inflammatory response, at the intestinal level, is triggered by diet consumption of gluten-containing cereals. Intestinal mucosa displays various degrees of atrophy and hyperplasia, with consequent global intestinal dysfunction and other relevant extra-intestinal symptoms. Through deamidation of specific glutamines of gluten-derived gliadin peptides, TG2 strongly enhances gliadin immunogenicity. In addition, TG2 cross-linking activity may generate complexes between TG2 itself and gliadin peptides, and these complexes seem to cause the auto-immune response by means of an apten-carrier-like mechanism of antigen presentation. Anti-TG2 antibodies can be early detected in the intestinal mucosa of celiac patients and are also abundantly present into the serum, thus potentially reaching other organs and tissues by blood circulation. Recently, the possible pathogenetic role of auto-antibodies to TG2 in CD has been investigated. Here, we report an overview about the genesis of these antibodies, their specificity, their modulating ability toward TG2 enzymatic or non-enzymatic activities and their biological effects exerted by interacting with extracellular TG2 or with cell-surface TG2. We also discuss the auto-immune response occurring in CD against other TG members (i.e. type 3 and type 6) and analyze the occurrence of anti-TG2 antibodies in other auto-immune CD-related diseases. Data now available let us to suppose that, even if antibodies to TG2 do not represent the triggering molecules in CD, they could be important players in disease progression and manifestations.


Type-2 transglutaminase Celiac disease Anti-TG2 auto-antibodies Humoral auto-immune response Post-translational modifications Auto-immune diseases 



Type-2 transglutaminase


Celiac disease




Human leukocyte antigens


Dermatitis herpetiformis


Type 3 transglutaminase


Type 6 transglutaminase


Type 1 diabetes


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiologyUniversity of SalernoFisciano (SA)Italy
  2. 2.Interuniversity Centre “European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food-Induced Diseases” (ELFID)University of SalernoFisciano (SA)Italy

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